Timing of Obama's visit leaves plaque plan up in air
Published 22/04/2011 | 05:00
THE lack of clarity on the timing of US President Barack Obama's visit here has left the designer of a commemorative plaque in something of a dilemma.
A mock-up of a bronze plaque to be hung outside the house where Mr Obama's ancestors lived cites May 22 as the date of the visit.
The text to be engraved on the plaque was being approved by the house owner John Donovan in Moneygall, Co Offaly, yesterday.
While the date referred to on the mock-up is Sunday, May 22, the makers have said this could be changed to May 23 at the last minute if Mr Obama's plans change.
It is thought that the US President will visit the Offaly village on May 23 unless it is decided he would draw a bigger crowd to his speech at Croke Park by speaking on a Sunday (May 22).
It is thought he will stay in Ireland for 24 hours.
In correspondence with organisers seen by the Irish Independent, Managing Director of Bronze Art David O'Brien said: "If you are happy for us to make the plaque for you like I said we will do it for free for you, including the installation onto Mr Donovan's wall.
"We have got the date of the 22nd on the plaque but we know there is a possibility of it being on the 23rd also. Worst case scenario is we need a minimum of seven days before the 22nd to get the plaque done."
Mr O'Brien added: "We would put it up two days before his arrival and keep it veiled until his arrival."
Bronze Art of the Fine Art Foundry in Dublin are donating the plaque worth €2,500.
The plaque will contain a short message in English and Irish to commemorate Mr Obama's visit.
Bronze Art is responsible for erecting plaques in high-profile locations throughout the country including at the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.
The weekly meeting between Barack Obama's distant cousin Henry Healy, parishioners and council officials was held yesterday to discuss plans for the visit.
Flag poles will shortly be erected in the village. T-shirts with 'What's the craic Barack?' and 'Obama Abu' 'Failte romhat go Muine Gall a Uachtarain' and 'BIFFO -- Barack is From Feckin' Offaly' are being sold ahead of the visit.